Param: Premature to set up RCI

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 23 Feb 2019

PETALING JAYA: One of the country’s foremost legal minds says it is premature to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into allegations of judicial misconduct based on an affidavit.

Datuk Param Cumaraswamy (pic), a former Bar Council chairman, said the hearing of lawyer Sangeet Kaur Deo’s suit against the Chief Justice should be expedited to ascertain if there was at least a prima facie case for the process of an RCI to be held on the issues raised.

He said it was incumbent upon Court of Appeal judge Datuk Dr Hamid Sultan Abu Backer to prove the allegations and subject himself to cross-examination in the process.

“It is therefore in the interest of justice to expedite the hearing of Sangeet’s suit,” he said when contacted.

Param who served as United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers from 1994 to 2003, said it was unusual for a sitting judge to voluntarily give an affidavit in support of a lay litigant’s suit in court and also permit it to be made public before it was even read in court.

Hamid Sultan recently filed a 65-page affidavit in court in support of an application by Sangeet, who is the daughter of the late Karpal Singh, to declare that the CJ had failed to defend the integrity of the judiciary in two cases.

In his affidavit, Hamid revealed explosive and detailed information in relation to numerous incidences of judicial interference within the Malaysian judiciary, including allegations of judicial interference in Karpal ’s sedition appeal decision at the Court of Appeal.

He said there were also nominees of politicians getting into contracts with the government, but once the government pulled out, the private parties would take the government to court to claim compensation.

The private parties created contracts with the government to defraud public funds and the apex court was perceived to be sympathetic to them, he revealed.

Hamid Sultan claimed that some top judges frowned upon his move and judgments on commercial matters that supported the government.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said on Thursday that the government had agreed to set up an RCI over the allegations.

Senior lawyer S. Radhakrishnan backed the announcement on the RCI, saying it would “once and for all end the negative speculation and irresponsible discussion among Malaysians on the judiciary.”

“There is an urgent need to carry out a thorough investigation to ascertain the veracity of the serious allegations made to restore public trust and confidence in the administration of justice.

“It should be noted that there are many good judges in the country who honestly uphold the rule of law in discharging their duties. In all fairness to these honest judges, there is further justification to carry out a thorough independent investigation without any delay,” added Radhakrishnan, who is a legal consultant with Shearn Delamore & Co and vice-president of the Reproductive Rights Advocacy Alliance Malaysia.

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